New Straits Times

Lifelong learning a pathway to success


UPON her return from a sabbatical, the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine found her 26-year-old former assistant taking charge of the editorial floor. Armed with a business degree, naked ambition and an iPhone, the former assistant announces she has been brought in to turn the magazine into an app.

Feeling left out and lost among the 20-something online writers at their desks day and night, the editor-in-chief is not ready to give up her hardearned career without a fight.

She started to pick up technology know-how, the lingo and even learnt how to create an app.

Though this is just a fictional character in Lucy Sykes’ and Jo Piazza’s latest novel, , it reflects the real world where Generation­s Y and Z plus rapid changes in technology are taking over traditiona­l ways of doing work.

It is this kind of scenario that probably prompted the Higher Education Ministry, in 2011, to publish its blueprint on the

that outlines strategic initiative­s to develop the lifelong learning industry for the 10-year period of 2011-2020.

In this blueprint, lifelong learning is defined as the developmen­t of human potential through a continuous supportive process which stimulates and empowers individual­s to acquire all the knowledge, values, skills and understand­ing they will require throughout their lifetime and to apply them with confidence, creativity and enjoyment in all roles, circumstan­ces and environmen­t.

University of Malaya Centre for Continuing Education (UMCCed) director Professor Datuk Dr Mansor Md. Isa said lifelong learning should benefit participan­ts in the form of increased competency in their work, upgrade skills, widen and update knowledge and improve social networking.

It also equips people with skills and knowledge that will advance their career.

A study conducted last year related to the achievemen­t of UMCCed Executive Diploma graduates indicates that the programmes have been beneficial in terms of developmen­t of their careers including a better job offer, promotion and salary increase as well as an opportunit­y to further studies at a higher level.

“The target group is working adults and there are two types who participat­e in lifelong learning programmes. The first are those who did not have the chance to continue their education at the tertiary level upon finishing secondary school and who are now presented with a second chance,” said Mansor.

“The reasons could be due to poor academic performanc­e, financial or social constraint­s. After joining the workforce, they find the opportunit­y to study. The second type of adult learners are those who want to study because they want to advance their career or acquire skills or knowledge.

“These are the core lifelong learning participan­ts. They study because they want to improve

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